Editorial: A teen to be proud of
There are 1,700 children who are members of local Boys & Girls clubs. Each one has a story to tell. However, each year the organization chooses one member to be Youth of the Year. It’s usually someone with a compelling personal story of triumph or overcoming adversity.
This year’s winner is no exception. Ashley Heatherly, 16, was selected among other contenders as Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. She will compete against other Boys & Girls Club members for the Tennessee Youth of the Year title and a $1,000 college scholarship.
Ashley was recognized with the highest honor a Boys & Girls Club member can receive for her character, leadership skills and willingness to give back to the community. The honor notes outstanding contributions to a member’s family, school, community and club, as well as overcoming personal challenges and obstacles.
“Ashley is a wonderful ambassador for her fellow club members,” said Chief Professional Officer Mark Ross. “She had a rough start at the club following the death of her father and her move to Sevier County, but with the guidance from her club staff, she quickly jumped in to be an active club member. Being a part of her development into the young lady she is today has been tremendously rewarding for all of us.”
The local Boys & Girls Club organization provides valuable service and attention to children who need it most. Some are kids of working parents, broken homes, one-parent homes and homes missing the things kids need most. The structure provided by a Boys & Girls Club can fill the void in a child’s life, make them feel loved and responsible, steer them on a path to productivity and accomplishment. Ashley Heatherly is headed that way. Congratulations to her for a well-deserved honor.